Fiverr Community Forum

Transfer of copyright is too vague

According to the TOS; https://www.fiverr.com/terms_of_service

Section “Ownership”, Copyright is transferred to the buyer, “the delivered work shall be the exclusive property of Buyer, and Seller assigns all rights, title and interest in the delivered work”

unless the gig gas “Commercial License”, in which case copyright is retained by the seller and only a license given to the buyer, see section “Gig Commercial Use License”, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Seller retains all ownership rights”.

So therefore the Gigs marked with Commercial License are not transferring ownership nor are the same gigs when this option is not paid for, but perversely the ones silent on the issue DO transfer ownership!

When you pay for a gig, what you are paying for is listed, except for the fact that the transfer of ownership is NOT mentioned whenever commercial license is absent. So how do you actually PROVE you’ve received ownership, eg in a later legal dispute. Sure, you can cite the TOS - but seller’s gigs change and so do their descriptions and offers. Furthermore, some sellers have multiple gig listings which differ over things like “commercial license”.

I guess one answer is to clarify first with the seller, but it seems dumb to have to do this.

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yeah, this doesn’t make any sense to me either

it looks like that if the seller doesn’t clearly mention anything about commercial rights, then the buyer gets all rights and interests as in a work for hire scenario. if the seller offers commercial rights as a gig extra, then the buyer only receives a personal use licence, and would have to pay extra to get a commercial rights licence, which would mean that the seller retains all rights

i have heard it being said that, if the gig isn’t for a voiceover, then the buyer would get all rights regardless and wouldn’t therefore need a commercial licence, but it pays to make sure. either way though, fine, i would just lean heavily towards the gigs that don’t offer commercial licences because i like to own my own logos

but then there are complications

what if the gig page list commercial rights, but it’s not a gig extra just in the list of what you get?

what if commercial rights isn’t mentioned anywhere in the gig page but when you go to order a gig, there it is? what if it only pops up once you’ve ordered?

what if the seller charges extra for full right?

i’ve seen a couple of gigs where the description mentioned that the seller retains all rights. does that hold any water? if i was the seller and wanted this, i would sell commercial rights licences for $1b, and that should take care of it? because these sellers don’t

what if commercial rights is included in one of the packages that you buy, and the awesome seller inexplicably throws you a PDF “licence” which is unfortunately absolute nonsense and clearly null and void?

what if the seller draws a character or works on a logo that you do own? what if the seller more or less copies a design sent by the the buyer (because that’s what the buyer asks), the buyer would own the design, what would the seller own, that would necessitate a licence?

it’s confusing. if the seller doesn’t clearly state on the gig page that the buyer needs to pay for a gig extra to get a commercial licence, and that gig extra is there on the front page then the buyer should retain all rights regardless of what the description says (unless it’s a voiceover gig or there’s some other reason). if the seller has done all of that, the the buyer should assess the situation, in my view anyway

i should mention that i’m not a lawyer, in case that’s not obvious. this post is for entertainment use only. let me entertain you

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Your observation is pretty accurate, there are gaps in the way copyright is written, transfered and managed on fiverr. I have included by default commercial use license in all my gigs, just to avoid that kind of ambiguities.

They are considered as “work for hire” which is the worst type of copyright, where you transfer everything to the buyer.

The best is, if you want to define something different than the commercial use license, to write inside the gig a statement where you define the rights you transfer, so it always stays inside the order on the order page. It is a valid proof and can be considered as legaly binding. However, this is not so obvious. It works for custom orders, where you define the details of the order in the description, you can define the license there. But for direct orders, it is not easy to implement. I use to include it as a requirement, where the buyer needs to chose if he bought the commercial use license or not. Not so evident.

The best option by far from a seller point of view and at this moment, is to include the commercial use license by default and increase the price.

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Yes, and that’s exactly what I’m seeing.

But, buyers and especially those paying for the premium/pro priced packages are getting a “commercial license” when they are not getting any legal ownership. Instead only the right to use it; albeit commercially.

When a buyer wants something for his commerical product and pays for it, he wants to own it as normally this is usual in “work for hire”. There’s also the question here of deriative works, can he even do this?

I’m looking at artwork, but i work in the software business, where it’s almost totally unheard of to be paid to make something for someone else and yet still own it!

Say someone paid to create the concept art for a game character and only get a commercial license. The seller is free to create almost the same character for another buyer since he/she retains ownership and copyright. True, the license is “exclusive”, but that puts the original buyer who paid and commissioned the work on a very weak legal footing, not even legally owning the material!

I’m drifting from my core point;

It is not made clear whether the buyer is buying a “work” or a “license”.

There’s nothing wrong with Fiverr’s “commercial license” option, but there should also be a “transfer of ownership” option. Prices for each are up to sellers of course.

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I am musician, and I would never sell any of my music as “work for hire”. Giving the possbility to someone to put his name on my work is something I cannot agree with.

Imagine, I am selling an original musical piece for lets say 50$ and above that, I am giving the buyer the right to use it for free i.e. commercial use license. That is a hell of a bargain for the buyer.

Usually, when a company wants to use an original musical piece for commercial purpose, they need to pay not only for the song, but every time it is actually used lets say in a commercial. They also need to pay bunch of guys for the usage, its very expensive and very complicated to manage.

You are completely right on this point. ANd it is not that clear the way it is written on the fiverr website. However, to avoid any umbiguities, I have stated in my gig that I will compose original custom music for the product of your choice. So theoretically, I engage to not resell it to another buyer.

If I wanted to resell the same composition to another buyer, I would sell it with a non-exclusive license, and I would have explicitly written it inside my gig (as we have discussed it above).
But that is me, how I would work.

Everything comes to several points: are the buyer and the seller well informed and understand how copyright works? What kind of license is enough for your product? Can seller provide that type of license? etc

Fiverr states “if not written differently inside the order” so it is up to the buyer and seller to work out any copyright related issue by writing inside the order what kind of rights the seller is transfering to the buyer.

Yes, but there is, as I’ve explained above. The buyer can e.g. define and sell an extra “complete transfer of ownership” and sell it with higher price than the commercial use license.

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TOS should be updated to mention this IMHO

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Even though it is not directly, it is actually stated in the TOS, under “ownership”

When purchasing a Gig on Fiverr, unless clearly stated otherwise on the Seller’s Gig page/description, when the work is delivered, and subject to payment, the Buyer is granted all intellectual property rights

In my opinion, and to be more covered, it is better to wright it inside the order itself, not the page description/gig page, since that can be changed, but the order page stays the same after completion. SO i would say, fiverr need to find clearer way to give us the possibility to clearly write it inside the order page.

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That “ownership” clause is alternative to the “Gig Commercial Use License” clause. Since there is no way “all intellectual property rights” can be transferred and still be compatible with the text of the commercial use licence.

This is another example of Fiverr being too vague here!

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